It’s simply the Best(ival)!

The who, what and where of this summer’s best festival.


Thinking of Dorset may conjure up fond memories of childhood holidays to the seaside with your grandparents: hours spent building sandcastles and eating Mr. Whippy ice creams while skimming stones on the shore (yawn- only joking). No, really, there’s nothing wrong with holding on to distant memories of family fun, but maybe it’s time to give your image of Dorset a long-overdue refresh. If so, look no further than Bestival: the annual four-day boutique music festival that promises the best in indie/dance music (and many more amazing memories!) is back and better than ever, with a brand-new location, epic line up and more entertainment than Disneyland (ish). If one thing is for sure, it’s that Bestival is the only place to be this September.

Who’s who?

With over ten areas to enjoy the best of Bestival’s varied assortment of music on offer, revellers are spoilt for choice, and there is sure to be something for everyone on hand at all times. The Castle Stage acts as the festival’s main stage, and is home to the major headliners of the weekend, including synth-pop legends Pet Shop Boys (It’s a Sin to miss this set), pioneer of grime Dizzee Rascal (whose live renditions of his smash hit Bonkers are genuinely legendary, that song just never gets old), everyone’s current favourite Rag’n’Bone Man, 80’s royalty Soul ll Soul plus Wiley, Laura Mvula and MNEK.

Many more big names are set to perform across the weekend on Bestival’s host of stages and areas, including The Box Stage, which will be home to English singer-songwriter Jamie T (whose tune “Zombie” is impossible not to dance around to uncoordinatedly), Scottish alternative rock band Twin Atlantic, Nick Mulvey (Cucurucu? Remember now? Thought so!), and British grime MC AJ Tracey. Or, mosey on over and get ready to worship at the Temple Stage, with DJ sets from the likes of Annie Mac and Dusky; if dancing to EDM is your cup of tea then grab your spoon because there really is nowhere else to be.

What’s where?

Bestival is completely unique in more ways than one, but what truly makes it stand out from the crowd is the impressive amount of distinctive areas mapped out around the site; with exclusive music, entertainment and activities going on in each one, there is never nothing to do. You may decide to wander into the place that is described as “the beating heart of Bestival”, the Colour Field, where you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of dance and colour, featuring Bestival’s very own Bollywood as well as brand new “dance nirvana”, Temple. The Colour Field is also home to the first of Bestival’s record breaking features: the world’s biggest confetti canon and bouncy castle (we literally cannot wait). If you go down to the woods, it won’t be a teddy bears picnic you find (sorry) but you will find yourself in the Ambient Forest, which Bestival organisers themselves promise to be a soul-enriching experience. Get creative and free your inner Van Gogh (or five-year-old) at one of Bestival’s paint parties by covering canvases, trees and probably your mates in paint (overalls optional).

The Slow Motion area of the festival is where the “physical, mental and spiritual states of wellbeing” combine and are lovingly nurtured with a zen routine of rotating between work out and chill out sessions (and repeat). Get sweaty by taking part in a wild run, spin class, booty camp or hip-hop yoga, then chill in one of the onsite hot tubs or saunas, or indulge in a full body massage: it’s like a spa day for the mind and body. Finally, a place for clean eaters to unite (even if it is over a mutual love of kale). Alternatively, be there to witness the opening of brand new area Cuckoo Clump, which- described as “the hotbed of the party”- has so much going on that you could happily spend an entire day there. Its Reggae Roots stage showcases the best flavours of reggae, from ska and rock steady to ragga and dub, while Stacey’s disco is described as the ultimate clubbing experience that is all about the dancing (so this is obviously where you’ll find me). The Cuckoo Clump is where you’ll find another of Bestival’s record breakers: the world’s largest disco ball (which, standing tall at over 10 metres high manages to be just as breath-taking as it is daunting). There are many other areas at Bestival, from the Colour Field and Love-Bot Park to The Lawn and Caravanserai, and words just don’t do them justice; they all simply have to be seen to be believed.

It’s not all about the music

Bestival organisers are the first to admit that it’s not all about the music, which is why they have crammed the weekend full of entertainment to keep party-goers satisfied. If you find yourself entranced by acrobats, jugglers, rope walkers and fire performers, then drop in at Circus Raj and Cirque Bijou, and get ready to be moved to the edge of your seat by acts of immense bravery (which can sometimes come across as stupidity, but we promise- its bravery). Another unmissable feature at Bestival is, of course, the Love-Bot, who comes alive when shown a little bit of love. And, if giant moving robots are your thing, make sure to catch the night parades which bring the site to life with mesmerising puppetry, ghostly floats and musicians. Think Disneyland with a Tim Burton twist (like everything else at this festival, sounds amazing- right?).

Bestival will run from 7th-10th September at the Lulworth Estate in Dorset, and tickets are selling fast so head to .uk/ to get yours now. 

By Elise Harvey